10 Step CRM Implementation Checklist For SMEs

Whether your business has 10 customers or 100, it’s essential to have the right CRM in place. The most important thing to know about this CRM system is that it’s not just a piece of software; it’s a key component in building a strong relationship with your customers.

So, you need to get it right.

The implementation process is crucial to the success of your CRM system and it’s important to get your team on board from Day 1. After all, what good is an amazing CRM tool that nobody actually uses?

According to recent studies, a fully utilized CRM system can increase company sales by 29%. But the key is in the term ‘fully utilized’. A CRM tool that’s sitting gathering dust isn’t going to do much for your business.

Follow this 10 Step CRM Implementation Checklist For SMEs to ensure that your CRM is utilized to its full potential.

1. Define Your CRM Strategy And Develop Clear Objectives

Before you even start using your CRM, it’s important to know what exactly you want to achieve with it and how you intend to do so. This is where you also need to identify your KPI’s, so that you can continue to measure the success of your CRM and make adjustments where needed.

For more on how to build a winning CRM strategy, click here.

Once you’ve developed some clear objectives, you should share them with your employees to ensure that everyone is working towards the same end goal.

2. Choose The Right CRM For Your Business

There are tons of CRM systems out there designed to meet various requirements and budgets. So, once you’ve identified what you need in a CRM system, it’s time sit down and do some research.

For some extra help, check out my post with 7 Free CRM Systems for small/medium sized businesses.

3. Make It Easy

If you want your employees to use your CRM on a regular basis, then you’re going to have to make the process as easy as possible. If this means training them over and over again, then so be it. Keep at it until the new system become ‘routine’ rather than a chore. You need to create a CRM ‘culture’ rather than simply adding it to their to-do lists.

Sure, they might hate you for a few weeks as you eat into their schedules with training sessions, but they’ll be all the happier at the end of it when the CRM system is helping them with their work, rather than derailing it.

You can give out a few ‘gold stars’ too, if that’s your thing. Or a few reward vouchers, whatever works. Is someone on your team particularly adept with the new system? Great, make them your CRM advocate. They’ll be essential in getting everyone else motivated and using the system.

Has someone else really pushed themselves to get on board, despite being the least tech-savvy individual on the planet? Don’t ignore that, reward them for it. Once you acknowledge that your employees are adjusting well and recognize their hard work, they’ll be even more encouraged to stick with it.

4. Listen To Your Customers

You don’t have to create a survey or anything like that, you simply have to listen to what your customers are saying about your company. Assess the complaints you’ve had recently and how they’ve been resolved. Is there anything your new CRM can do to avoid these grievances in the future?

This kind of customer intel is crucial in identifying what areas to focus on with your CRM system.

5. Integrate Your CRM With Other Systems

No man is an island, and your CRM shouldn't be one either. Not unless you want it to be less effective. It needs company, i.e. the other systems that you use on a daily basis.

Is it complementary to these systems? And what about data import/export – has this process been streamlined? Once you’ve successfully integrated your CRM with your other commonly used systems/tools, you’ll save yourself and your team a lot of time and resources.

6. Create An Internal Guidelines Document

Regardless of the size of your business, you’re still going to need a place to lay out some common guidelines about your CRM. For example, how to input data or register a new sale on the system. Your company intranet is one of the best places to store this document for easy access.

7. Use The Features You Actually Need

Your new CRM system might have 100s of features, but that doesn’t mean that you have to use all of them. It’s more important to focus on the features that will work for your business and help you to streamline the current processes within your organization.

Talk to your team and figure out what to prioritize first. You can look at all of the fancy ‘extras’ later on in the game, when you’ve everything else set-up and running perfectly.

8. Stick With Essential Fields

It’s important to gain the customer data you need from your CRM, but it’s also important not to overwhelm your team. If your sales team are working hard to hit targets, the last thing they’ll want to do is update a client contact form with about 20 different fields to fill in.

Would you rather they were on the phone to prospective leads or stuck typing irrelevant details into your CRM?

9. Make Sure Your Hardware Can Keep Up

It’s important to ensure that your staff are updating their PC’s on a regular basis; if your software isn’t upgraded then it’s going to slow down your new CRM system and frustrate your team. This kind of team is not a happy team.

10. Evaluate

Even if your CRM system is working fine, it’s important to keep evaluating it and assessing how it’s benefiting your business. Organise a chat with your team every month or so to see how they’re getting on with it and to discuss any issues that might arise. This will ensure that they keep using the CRM to the best of its potential.

Successful Implementation = Results

Remember, your CRM implementation is something that you really need to invest in if you want to see results. By following this checklist, you can ensure that you get the most out of your CRM tool and continue to do so.

Have you recently implemented a new CRM system in your business? Is there anything you’d add to this checklist? Let us know in the comments section below.